Hastings Pier to open in March 2016

Hastings Pier will not be opening this year as planned, it was announced this morning (Thursday).

Simon Opie, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Hastings Pier Charity, said the attraction will open for business on March 21, 2016.

An architect's impression on how Hastings Pier will look after the opening

An architect's impression on how Hastings Pier will look after the opening

He said: “We’re really disappointed not to be opening earlier but the storms in February 2014 caused a significant amount of additional damage and pushed back the works three months or more.

“Almost all the work will be finished this year but not completed in time to open the pier during any of the traditional seaside trading months.”

The charity has ruled out opening the pier in the winter.

Completion is expected around October this year.

Mr Opie added: “The storm, the same one that ripped the railway up in Dawlish, created big problems for us and meant us rethinking the demolition of the old ballroom.”

A floating barge became necessary as the storm damage made the pier too dangerous to be used as the demolition platform.

“The additional costs weren’t a problem as we’d insured the structure, but the wait time for the barge and the extra work added to the build schedule and we just haven’t been able to catch up,” Mr Opie added.

People will get the chance to go the pier well before next March, as Christmas pop-up attractions are planned, including a Christmas fair and possibly a skating rink.

Mr Opie said he was keen to get the pier being used as soon as possible.

He added: “It’s vital the pier is financially viable. All the money raised paid for the restoration but once finished the pier must pay its way. And most importantly, it’s a pier for Hastings, it’s a local attraction and a local asset for townspeople and visitors alike.”

Kevin Boorman, head of marketing at Hastings Borough Council, said: “2016 was always going to be a big year for Hastings, this now gives residents and visitors alike another chance to celebrate, as 2016 will be the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. There is massive interest in the pier, and I, along with many other people, look forward to March 21, 2016, a date that is firmly in my diary.”